Wikidata:WikiProject Fashion/Taxonomy





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Symbol note.svg Info On this page you will find commentary, questions, and links to taxonomies, ontologies, and controlled vocabularies for fashion and clothing.

One of our first project goals should be to look at existing structured ontologies and vocabularies for clothing and fashion. If you know of a vocabulary, please list it here and let's talk about its usefulness.


  • Taxonomy: taxonomy (Q7211): classification of things or concepts, as well as to the principles underlying such a classification, categorisation is based on discrete sets, different from meronomy which is dealing with the classification of parts of a whole
  • Ontology: ontology (Q324254): specification of a conceptualization
  • Controlled vocabulary: controlled vocabulary (Q1469824): list of words and phrases for organizing and retrieval of information

Background readingEdit

Fashion Terminology Today: Describe your heritage collections with an eye on the future, Ykje Wildenborg, MoMu – Fashion Museum of the Province of Antwerp, Belgium / Europeana Fashion, Modemuze A partnership project to extend the Getty AAT costume vocabulary, also referencing the ICOM vocabulary, and how they approached the work.

Metadata Elements for Object Description and Representation: A Case Report from a Digitized Historical Fashion Collection Project, Marcia Lei Zeng, School of Library and Information Science, Kent State University, Kent, OH. An approach to cataloguing historical dress using using AACR/USMARC formats, Dublin Core, and the VRA Core Categories for Visual Resources.

Ontologies and vocabulariesEdit

ICOM vocabularyEdit

In 1982, the COSTUME group of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) issued a vocabulary of basic terms for cataloguing costume in museum collections. It's in English, French, and German. It defines the base set of terms into which - in theory - any item of clothing can be categorized. I've thought this might make a good first- and second-level subclass set of "clothing" for Wikidata, with everything else defined as a subclass of one of these classes, but only if we cannot find a more complete ontology.

It has the advantages of being (somewhat) multilingual, with clear written and pictorial definitions. It is not clear that it is freely licensed so that we could import the definitions directly.

My questions would be, is the museum community actually using this vocabulary? Has it been translated into more languages?

- PKM (talk) 21:45, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Getty AATEdit

The Getty Art&Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) includes a hierarchy for costume. You can view the hierarchy here. This might be a good baseline for us. I think we can also cite it as a reference for classification statements (for example coif (Q15978441) <subclass of> cap (Q6147804) <stated in> Art & Architecture Thesaurus (Q611299). - PKM (talk) 19:47, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Key conceptsEdit

  • guide term A record representing a concept that serves as a place saver to create a level in the hierarchy under which the AAT can collocate narrower concepts (e.g., <planographic printing processes>). Guide terms should not be used for indexing or cataloging. In AAT displays, guide terms are enclosed in angled brackets angled brackets. See also node label.Getty Vocabulary Program: Recent Editorial Work (2013), pages 28 ff.
  • node label: A label indicating a division of a hierarchy that contains a characteristic of division (e.g., <photographs by form>). Node labels do not represent concepts and therefore have no semantic relationships with concepts. In the AAT, their appearance is the same as guide terms, being enclosed in angled brackets. They should not be used for indexing or cataloging.Getty Vocabulary Program: Recent Editorial Work (2013), pages 28 ff.

In the area of costume, AAT has "costume accessories" (our costume accessory (Q1065579)). Under "worn costume accessories". items are grouped into <accessories by location above the waist> and so on. (ICOM has something similar.) I think we should certainly skip these <> levels of hierarchy. This is consistent with the work being done by Wikidata:WikiProject Visual arts in mapping AAT data - see the tables at Wikidata:WikiProject Visual arts/AAT Objects Facet Mapping.

We may also want to skip the "worn costume accessories" level as well, but it's early days and I am completely open to further discussion on this area. If WPVA builds out that data, I'd be delighted to use it. - PKM (talk) 00:52, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Europeana Fashion Thesaurus (Europeana Fashion Vocabulary)Edit

Europeana Fashion has a multilingual thesaurus in 11 languages: English, Dutch, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Greek, Swedish and Serbian.

Information about the thesaurusEdit

Europeana Fashion Vocabulary on WikidataEdit


A project by twelve Dutch museums to permanently present their fashion collections online. Includes development of an extended vocabulary based on Getty AAT with reference to the ICOM vocabulary, in partnership with Europeana Fashion. A goal is to release their vocabulary as Linked Open Data (LOD).

@Wittylama, Thierry Caro: Do either of you have any info on the timing of the release of the LOD for this vocabulary? (And please improve the description of this project if you have more data.) - PKM (talk)

Related projectsEdit


PKM (talk) Wittylama (talk) Thierry Caro ( talk) Ainali (talk) Spinster 💬 13:02, 6 March 2017 (UTC) Pharos (talk) Jane023 (talk) 07:22, 18 March 2017 (UTC) Tris T7 TT meFuzheado (talk) 11:28, 25 June 2019 (UTC) Camelia (talk) 04:51, 31 July 2019 (UTC) Arkirkland (talk) 14:48, 7 September 2019 (UTC) NettieLibrarian (talk) 15:46, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

  Notified participants of WikiProject Fashion

Updated. My draft Recommendation for taxonomy best practices is ready for your comments. Please take a look! - PKM (talk) 17:59, 20 March 2017 (UTC)